DID YOU READ

The Top 10 Kidnapping Scenes in Movies (with video)

Liam Neeson in Taken

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You’d think movie kidnappers would’ve caught on by now that movie kidnappings never, ever go according to plan; in fact, if you want to experience complete and total disaster, then by all means go kidnap somebody. Here are some kidnapping scenes that start a domino effect of cinematic chaos.


“Bananas” (1971)

One of Woody Allen’s silliest — and laugh-out-loud funniest — comedies, “Bananas” stars the writer-director himself as Fielding Mellish (one of the most character names of all time), a neurotic New Yorker (natch) whose attempts to impress a cute activist (Louise Lasser) end up leading him to the fictional South American country of San Marcos, where he gets involved with a group of revolutionaries. There’s lots of crazy (and oh so ’70s) goings-on in “Bananas,” including a truly bizarre courtroom sequence featuring a middle-aged African American woman who believes she’s J. Edgar Hoover, but one of the best sight gags is this bit of physical comedy in which the chaotic struggle during an attempted person-snatching causes Woody to inject knock-out drugs to everyone involved — including his co-conspirators. It’s the kind of situation that Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad! and The Naked Gun might’ve found himself in, once upon a time.


“Fargo” (1996)

The title of the Coen Brothers’ bittersweet love letter to their home state of Minnesota actually refers to a town in the neighboring state of North Dakota, where struggling car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) meets with bumbling criminals Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) to discuss the kidnapping of Jerry’s wife — a scheme bound for disaster as it’s wrought with contradictions and complications from the start as the kidnappers insist their meeting was supposed to start an hour before Jerry’s arrival. The fact that these two clowns actually succeed in snatching poor Mrs. Lundegaard (in broad daylight and from her own house, in fact) is pretty remarkable, ’cause that’s pretty much the only thing that ends up being checked off from the list of How It’s All Supposed to Go.


“Labyrinth” (1986)

Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s follow-up to the still-astonishing “The Dark Crystal” hasn’t aged nearly as well as its now-classic predecessor, but it’s still quite the enjoyable nostalgia piece; you just can’t help but crack a whimsical smile whenever you think of the first time you noticed that rather prominent bulge coming from the nether regions of David Bowie’s Goblin King costume. Surely, “Labyrinth” still makes for a fine fairy tale, with young Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, mega-hot even before she was old enough for that to be mentioned) wishing that the Goblins would come and take her meddlesome baby brother away; the scene where she says just the right words for this to actually happen makes for one of the scariest moments in the film, thanks to a rather robust thunderstorm and the excitable Greek Chorus commentary coming from the Goblins themselves as they huddle together in some sort of Hensonian limbo state. Shudder!


“Man on Fire” (2004)

The second of what would end up being many collaborations between Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott (and the first since 1995’s “Crimson Tide”), “Man on Fire” features Denzel as a former CIA operative saved from alcoholic despair and self-loathing by becoming the bodyguard of a young American girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City; when the little tyke is kidnapped, he embarks on the kind of “roaring rampage of revenge” that would make even Liam Neeson blush as he stabs, shoots and blows up everyone even vaguely involved with the snatching of his ward. The scene where Dakota is kidnapped makes for one of the most harrowing moments in the film, cranked up to panic mode all the more by the hyper-aggressive visual style in which Tony Scott loves to indulge.


“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Tim Burton’s much-celebrated 1993 stop-motion double-holiday classic might now look a little, well, quaint compared to some of the more contemporary films that feature the animation technique (including Burton’s own “Corpse Bride”), but “A Nightmare Before Christmas” is still a triumph of character and storytelling; indeed, Jack Skellington might now very well be as popular a Christmas figure as ol’ Saint Nick himself. Speaking of Saint Nick (or “Sandy Claws,” as he’s mistakably referred to for the first two acts of this dark fable), he’s been targeted for kidnapping by Jack as he attempts to merge both Halloween and Christmas, a task which the Pumpkin King has entrusted to Halloween Town’s trio of troublemakers, Lock, Shock and Barrel. This scene features the ghoulish whippersnappers psyching themselves up to snatch the jolly old elf, complete with rather macabre lyrics that help to paint a rather grim Christmas portrait.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.